Why Are The Most Important Jobs and Vocations in Society Today Also Often the Least Appreciated?

There are hundreds of thousands - if not millions - of different jobs in the world today ranging from top flight bankers (well, at least, they used to exist) to people that service the machines for attaching those small plastic sheaths to the ends of shoe laces. The fact is, despite the multitude of jobs, only a select few are truly crucial to the smooth-running of society - unfortunately they're often poorly paid and heavily underappreciated as well as usually requiring little to no qualifications; creating much negative stigma and contempt for those that carry them out. Below are a few examples of such jobs:

Road Workers - We complain when we have to stop at road works while in a rush. We curse them under our breath when they seem to be doing nothing. We chastise them for taking so long when they're still there a week later. But we wouldn't be travelling anywhere without them. Maybe not these ones in particular, but at some point, their colleagues were responsible for the construction of every road you drive on. When it rains they have no office building to trudge into with broken umbrellas in hand to spend the day lamenting their soaked suits - instead they just put their heads down and continue as the cars carry on past. Without these men - and women - travelling around the country in the comfort of your own car would be impossible, the fuel trucks wouldn't be able to get to the gas stations anyway - nor would food be supplied to stores. A country without roads would grind to a halt.

Waste Collectors - Dustbin men, garbage men, trash men - they have many names, but whatever you may call them, they're responsible for clearing away your rubbish throughout the year. What if taking out the trash meant a two hour return journey to a landfill site or recycling centre? Would you expect that everybody would? no, not everyone would; instead the number of people just dumping their waste in the street would skyrocket - towns and cities would become breeding grounds for disease as piles of waste festered on every corner.

These are just two examples but the list carries on: Farmers, Builders, Shelf Stackers, the guys that maintain power and telephone lines - even teachers are often unappreciated despite being responsible for endowing people with the education necessary to become a success. The question is, why, when they all hold society up, do they not receive the appreciation they deserve?

Sometimes people even go so far as to stereotype these hard-working people as lazy or bad-tempered; as for the latter, can you really blame them? If you were to help someone in need you'd expect at least some display of thanks, right?

The problem is this: each of us has our own group of people that we know, however, the average human mind can only actually picture 150 - 200 different people. By picture I don't mean that you can see their faces in your mind's eye - at least, that's not all it entails - but actually relate to and take into consideration. For instance, every time you go for a drive or are driven somewhere, you do not think of all the people that built the road you're using, you just accept that there's a road there. However, say your friend was an architect and had designed a building - upon seeing and/or entering that building there's a fair chance that you'd think of them. Essentially this is why people are taken for granted - we simply can't relate to them.

The other reason for it is that almost everyone reading this will have lead a privileged life in that they will have had roads on which to travel, their trash will have regularly been collected from outside their home, they will have had a constant supply of water and electricity; it is simply expected of society that these things will be supplied - a failure to produce these 'simple' amenities would cause discontentment and complaint. It is only when faced with a total lack of these for an extended period of time that one will come to appreciate them for what they are. Many people travel around the world to places like Africa and partake in what is sometimes referred to as 'poverty tourism': they visit a small township, see all the poverty stricken people there, take a few photos, think about how unfortunate these people are and return home full of anecdotes. The fact is, very little of it will stick with them in the long run unless they stay there for several years and begin to see everything as a blessing. Only when you expect the least do you appreciate the most.

(It is important to note that I'm not saying everyone that travels to Africa behaves like this; many really do help to improve the standard of life there by partaking in construction projects and other charity-run ventures.)


As this article draws to a close I hope that you all take something away from it and pause for a few moments to really think about those that do their jobs day in, day out with little thanks despite the great importance and use to others of what they do. Hey, maybe even leave a little note on top of your trash next time you put it out - just to say thanks for what those men do for you; I'm sure it would be warmly greeted.

- Sasha

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